Watching pro wrestling in the 1980s gave me an appreciation for the monsters of the WWE or back then the WWWF. So I thought it’d be fun to look back at the real giants, the big boys, the super heavyweights and count down the greatest in WWE history.
Truth be told I was inspired by this blog after watching the debut of The Funkasaurus previously known as Brodus Clay. Do I think Brodus is one of the greatest WWE super heavyweights of all time? Definitely not, but the potential could be there. However, to get to that level big Brodus will have to follow some giant footsteps…no pun intended.
So what is a super heavyweight? I thought 350 pounds and over would be a fair weight limit. We are talking super right? That eliminates some historic big men like The Undertaker, Ernie Ladd, The Big Bossman, and Kevin Nash but when I think of super heavyweight, I don’t think of a 300 pound jacked up wrestler. I think heavy!
The list is in order and based on the following criteria. Place in history, money drawn, quality of matches in the ring, influence, memorable matches, legacy, and of course just being big! Is this list open to interpretation? Absolutely, but I did the best I can based on my memory, You Tube, and the guys that just appealed more to me as a fan over the years. Do you differ? Leave a comment and let me know.
With that said, let’s reinforce the pages of the Camel Clutch Blog and welcome in the Top 15 WWE Super Heavyweights of all Time!
Andre the Giant – The eighth wonder of the world, Andre the Giant is the greatest big man in pro wrestling in my opinion. Was he anything special inside of the ring? No, but he wasn’t as bad as you remember him. You Tube some old Andre videos wrestling in Japan or the AWA in the late 1970s and he could go. He truly set the standard on promoting big man or special attractions in pro wrestling. He is at the top of my list and I can’t imagine him not being at the top of yours.
Stats: (Billed) 7’ 4” 475 pounds
The Big Show – Old school pro wrestling fans may not agree but if you look at it objectively, The Big Show is without a doubt the second greatest super heavyweight in pro wrestling history. His versatility inside of the ring is amazing when you take into account how big the man actually is. In WCW and in Japan early in his career he was doing dropkicks off of the top rope! He is the most decorated man on this list if you look at championships, big matches, and WrestleMania appearances. I am not a big fan, but I have a great amount of respect for his body of work.
Stats: 7’0” 441 pounds
Yokozuna – It was a short legacy but big Yoko is still one of the most memorable characters in WWE history. At over 600 pounds, Yokozuna was one of the most fluid pro wrestlers inside of the ring you will ever see for someone his size. Catch some tapes of him wrestling in Mexico and Japan and you’ll be blown away at what he did at his size, but we are talking WWE. In the WWE as a former two time WWE champion he certainly deserves a spot up top of the list.
Stats: 6’ 4” 636 pounds
Haystacks Calhoun – He was downright awful inside of the ring but the man was a pioneer for his time. I think Haystacks opened the doors for Andre and helped mold Vince McMahon SR. into promoting the “special attraction.” As for legacy, there aren’t many adults who grew up during that era that don’t remember his name. He was arguably a popular culture icon which to me puts him in the top five.
Stats: 6’1’ 601 pounds
King Kong Bundy – Bundy had a short but memorable run in the WWF which peaked with a headline match against the WWF champion Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 2. Bundy was mean, nasty, and a heck of an attraction during his early WWF run. As a matter of a fact I can’t recall any other pro wrestler that won as many matches with a five count as the big man.
Stats: 6’4” 446 pounds
Mark Henry – I don’t even know if he’d make the top fifteen if I did this list a year ago. Yet thanks to a renewed push the last several months of 2012, Henry is not only top fifteen, he is a top ten super heavyweight. He has certainly reinvented his legacy from over-sized failure to one of the best heel runs of 2011 as WWE world heavyweight champion. He could even make the top five with a few more years of this, but let’s not crazy. Mark Henry will now be known as one of the greatest super heavyweights in WWE history.
Stats: 6’4” 412 pounds
Bam Bam Bigelow – Of all guys on this list Bam Bam was my favorite to watch as a fan. Unfortunately his best matches came outside of the WWE in WCW, Japan, and ECW, which is why he falls out of the top five. It is hard to argue that he wasn’t the best big man inside of the ring, yet he never had that consistent big run that most of the super heavyweights in the WWE received. His biggest match came at WrestleMania X against Lawrence Taylor which is still a highly memorable WrestleMania match. Unfortunately I think he was one big run against Hulk Hogan away from being considered a top five super heavyweight.
Stats: 6’4” 390 pounds
Big John Studd – It took many years for me to come to terms with the fact that Big John was not nearly as great in the ring as I remembered as a kid. Let’s just say that WWE Classics has not been too kind to the WWE Hall of Fame. That out of the way, Studd was a legendary big man who drew a boatload of money during his WWF run with matches against Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan. The business this man drew is nothing that should be ignored and to me, reason enough to place him in the top ten.
Stats: 6’10” 364 pounds
Earthquake – John Tenta was a heck of a big man for his time period, known for running across the ring at full speed and dropping his 468 pounds across the chest of his fallen victims. Tenta is most known for his run against Hulk Hogan which was big business for the time period. With Typhoon, he also had a decent series of matches against The Road Warriors. I may be ranking him a little too high but hey, it’s my list and I loved watching this guy go back in the 1980s!
Stats: 6’ 7” 468 pounds
Rikishi – Rikishi hit gold during the WWE Attitude Era as one of the most lovable big men on Monday nights with his Stink Face move and celebratory dance following his matches. Brodus Clay can thank this big man with Vince McMahon’s obsession with creating another dancing big man. Rikishi is another guy that would blow you away at times for the things he could do inside of the ring for his size. Rikishi spent considerable time in the WWE under different gimmicks but there is nothing more memorable for the big man than his run in the Attitude Era.
Stats: 6’ 1” 425 pounds
Akeem/One Man Gang – Well if you are putting a list of memorable big men, Akeem has to make the list. A couple of decades later people still talk about the wacky promos and gimmick that the WWE gave this former One Man Gang. I was a big fan of Gang in his territorial days in World Class, Florida, and Mid South and I really don’t think he ever got the fair opportunity he deserved to be a big draw up top in that gimmick. Instead, he has a legacy as one of the goofiest gimmicks in WWE history and that is enough for me to place him in the top 15.
Stats: 6’ 9” 457 pounds
Vader – If this was a list of the greatest super heavyweights in pro wrestling history, Vader may land in the top three. This guy tore it up like no other man his size in WCW, Mexico, and Japan. Unfortunately like the One Man Gang, I feel he never got the right opportunity to do the same in the WWE. Part of it was years of nagging injuries that caught up to him while another part was just a different philosophy the WWE had than what the big man was used to. Regardless, he still had a fun run against Shawn Michaels and that is good enough for me to put him in the bottom fifteen.
Stats: 6’ 5” 450 pounds
Kamala – Like a few of the other guys on this list, this one is coming more from my memories as a young pro wrestling fan watching Kamala feud with Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan. I’ll be honest, his legacy didn’t last that long and that is unfortunate for everyone. However, he is still one of my favorite wrestlers from the time period. Like Bam Bam and Vader, Kamala’s best matches unfortunately came outside of the WWE. However, he was a giant monster, he was fast in the ring, he drew some good money with Andre and Hogan, and I couldn’t imagine writing up this kind of list without adding him.
Stats: 6’ 7” 375 pounds
Stats: 6′ 3″ 350 pounds
Viscera – Big Viscera makes the list for longevity and well, it was either him or the Great Khali. I was never a Viscera fan but I do respect what he did in the WWE. He had some okay matches and he kept it entertaining. At 6’9” and over 450 pounds the man could have been world champion in another era but he never had the God given grace of some of the other super heavyweights mentioned here like Vader, Bam Bam, and Umaga. Regardless, for fifteen years he was in and out of the WWE through different eras and that is something I can’t take away from him. I will give you this, he is certainly a debatable pick at fifteen.
Stats: 6’9” 487 pounds